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Monthly Judea Journal for December - with Advent and Meeting House Renovation News

Dear Friends,

The December issue of the Judea Journal is now available!  Download this issue and discover all the great news and information for this Advent season plus a recap of the information about the upcoming Meeting House renovations approved at our last special congregational meeting on November 20.

How are you approaching this Advent season?  Are you already caught up in the commercial frenzy that started even before Thanksgiving?  Or are you using this Advent period to prepare yourself (a life-long process, isn’t it?) to entertain Christ in your heart as we celebrate the coming of the Light at Christmas? 

This month, we are encouraging everyone to find some practices to help them bring Christ back into Christmas.  That is, to welcome the spirit of Love and Light of hope.  As a church, we provide many different opportunities.  Last Sunday, Pastor Cheryl and Carrie Loyd held the annual Advent Wreath workshop for the Sunday School but also opened it up to adults to make one during coffee hour if they wished to include an Advent wreath in their practices during the month. There is even a booklet to tell you how you can do it if you don’t remember or never did it.

Jesse and Michelle have worked hard to bring a lovely assortment of special music, beginning with Art Peterson’s Brass Quintet offering their talents this Sunday.  You can find the full lineup of Advent and Christmas music on page 2 of the December Journal.

In addition to our regular Advent Sunday services and Christmas Day, which falls on a Sunday this year, we have FOUR – count them – four extra opportunities for people to reclaim their Christian faith during this season.  A Service of Comfort and Peace will be offered on Dec 11 at 5 pm, a Travelers’ Christmas Service on Dec 18 at 5 pm, and the two Christmas Eve services, 5:30 and 10 pm.  Details for all of that is included on page 6 of the December Journal.  Why don't you come - and/or share it with a friend?

Finally, you may not realize this because we do missions/outreach activities throughout the year but if you stop and think about what those are, what they do, and why we do it, you realize that this, too, is a practice for welcoming Love and Light into our hearts.  The practice can stretch us out of our comfort zones if we let it.  It may take the form of offering essential food for the food bank; purchasing a wreath from The Susan B Anthony Project to provide them needed funds for helping victims of abuse; providing toys for children in Waterbury whose parents would not otherwise afford the luxury of a doll, an action figure, or a game; or donating in memory or honor of someone to provide food or shelter to our less fortunate neighbors.  It may look like spending a few hours at the Loaves and Fishes Hospitality Kitchen a few days before New Years to provide a warm meal, a smile and some heartfelt conversation or laughter with one of the guests.  The key is to do it consciously, with the intention of putting love in action while you are doing it.  If cultivated as a regular practice, these small acts have a cumulative effect on our spirits, making us better able to open to that Love that Jesus promises is available to us. 

So what does your Advent look like?  We’d love to hear about your precious practice(s) that help prepare your heart.  Share them with us and let us know if we can share them (even anonymously) with others.

All of the announcements on the right – and more – are in the Monthly Issue of the Judea Journal for December!

Wishing you peace and inspiration during this Advent season!

Karen Esslinger
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